If the power goes out during the chilly months of winter, portable generators can help keep the lights and heat on at your home or business. However, generators pose serious hazards when not used properly. Before you turn on your emergency generator, remember these important safety tips:
- Follow directions – Read any operating and maintenance manuals before using any generator. Insist that anyone else who may operate the unit read and understand the information also.
- Ventilate – Adequate ventilation is critical. Exhaust from the generator contains carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly! Always run the machine outdoors. To keep the unit out of the winter elements, it is acceptable to use a generator in an open space in a garage, but only if you leave the garage door completely open for ventilation.
- Prevent backfeed – Never wire a building’s electrical system into a generator. This can cause power to “backfeed” through the electric meter and into NOVEC’s power lines. Line technicians attempting to restore your power can come into contact with the unidentified power source you created and be injured or killed.
- Turn off main power switch – Even if the electric power is out, turn off the main power switch before running the generator. When power is restored, the renewed electricity can cause your generator to backfeed (see above).
- Don’t overload – Overloading a generator with too many appliances can cause the equipment to malfunction and just put you back in the dark. Refer to the unit’s manual for wattage capacity and prioritize your electrical needs.
- Extension cords – Always follow the guidelines specified by the generator manufacturer regarding extension cords and appliances. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty grade, properly grounded and in good condition. Position cords out of the way to prevent tripping hazards, but never cover them with rugs or tape.
- Refueling – Never attempt to refill a generator’s fuel tank while it is in operation as gasoline is highly flammable. Turn the machine off and give it adequate time to cool down before refueling.
- Caution kids – Keep children away from the generator as well as the gasoline.
Caution and care around emergency generators will keep your family and neighbors and your dedicated NOVEC employees safe when you choose to use a back-up power supply.
View the Choosing and Installing Emergency Generators brochure.
NOVEC Solutions, an affiliate company of NOVEC, offers portable generators at reasonable prices. Employees can help you pick the right option for your home or business as well as provide you with safe installation, maintenance and usage techniques.